Windows 11 Insider adds controller-operated game bar

Daniel Sims

Posts: 462   +18
Staff
Why it matters: This week, Microsoft introduced a new feature for the Xbox Game Bar in Windows 11 designed for controllers. For the first time, Microsoft is providing a way to start games from the Windows desktop without a mouse or keyboard.

The controller bar comes to Windows 11 insiders today. It's a new version of the Xbox Game Bar that opens after pressing the home button on an Xbox controller while not in a game. Now, users can start their three most recently-played games or boot up game launchers like Steam and the Epic Games Store. The normal Xbox Game Bar will still appear after pressing the home button in a game.

To run the new feature on Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 225xx or later, download the Xbox Insider Hub from the Microsoft Store. Sign up as an Xbox Insider in the hub, head to "previews," and then join the Windows Gaming preview. Afterward, update the Xbox Game Bar to version 5.722.5022.0 or newer, reboot, and connect an Xbox controller or other Xinput controller.

The controller bar will come in handy for users with home theater PC setups that don't comfortably accommodate keyboards and mouses. Until now, Steam's Big Picture mode has been the only way for PC gamers to navigate from the desktop into a game using just a controller. Booting non-Steam games this way requires manually adding them to a Steam library.

Permalink to story.

 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,465   +2,438
Microsoft has been killing it in the gaming market.
Why it took this long I don't know, but I welcome it. I'm on the beta channel and signed up on the Hub yesterday. Haven't tried it out yet though. I'll try to remember to do that later tonight.

I recommend the beta channel if you want new changes before everyone else. So far I haven't had any annoyances with it that didn't get fixed. Dev channel was another story. Had to format to go back to beta channel very soon after switching, because of problems. :(
 
Last edited:
D

Dd663

Literally nothing about Windows 11 is better than Windows 10, which is astounding considering how low the bar was.
It's all opinion-based, of course, but I'd argue to the contrary. IMO, the new system sounds are better and the aesthetic is better. And I actually quite like the new icon-based right-click controls for copying, pasting, deleting and whatnot. They've even engineered it so that, as much as possible, those controls are slightly down and to the right of the mouse when you right click, even when the rest of the right click options have to be put above the mouse location due to the mouse being too close to the bottom of the screen. A small touch, but a nice one, done with the aim of helping with muscle memory.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,212   +4,262
It's all opinion-based, of course, but I'd argue to the contrary. IMO, the new system sounds are better and the aesthetic is better. And I actually quite like the new icon-based right-click controls for copying, pasting, deleting and whatnot. They've even engineered it so that, as much as possible, those controls are slightly down and to the right of the mouse when you right click, even when the rest of the right click options have to be put above the mouse location due to the mouse being too close to the bottom of the screen. A small touch, but a nice one, done with the aim of helping with muscle memory.

I can't really argue with aesthetic taste, however I will point out that a lot of people make similar arguments about Apple and in case something is not exactly to your taste in terms of the look and feel of the UI well, the undeniable king of customizeability and specific good looks remains Linux: Even just KDE Plasma on it's own can probably replicate all of the Windows 11 looks pretty faithfully and then go off on different directions but many other Desktop Environments on Linux take things on many different directions.

This is not deriding Windows, 11 or otherwise mind you (Well, for THIS one point) but if you're in search of the best possible looks there's no better time to try Linux with the vertiginously fast progress it's making on things like gaming compatibility for example
 
D

Dd663

I can't really argue with aesthetic taste, however I will point out that a lot of people make similar arguments about Apple and in case something is not exactly to your taste in terms of the look and feel of the UI well, the undeniable king of customizeability and specific good looks remains Linux: Even just KDE Plasma on it's own can probably replicate all of the Windows 11 looks pretty faithfully and then go off on different directions but many other Desktop Environments on Linux take things on many different directions.

This is not deriding Windows, 11 or otherwise mind you (Well, for THIS one point) but if you're in search of the best possible looks there's no better time to try Linux with the vertiginously fast progress it's making on things like gaming compatibility for example
Aesthetics are nice and all, but not my primary draw to Windows. The primary draw is the apps (including games). Until I have a good enough reason to not want to use Windows, like, for instance, if Microsoft added horribly intrusive unremovable flashing banner ads everywhere, I have no motive to switch to Linux, because Windows app compatibility will never be as good on Linux as it is on Windows.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,212   +4,262
Aesthetics are nice and all, but not my primary draw to Windows. The primary draw is the apps (including games). Until I have a good enough reason to not want to use Windows, like, for instance, if Microsoft added horribly intrusive unremovable flashing banner ads everywhere, I have no motive to switch to Linux, because Windows app compatibility will never be as good on Linux as it is on Windows.
I actually agree with you on this 100%. I wouldn't use Linux as my "daily driver" for personal and gaming computing, but I am willing to experiment if the situation calls for: I have Linux Mint on a Sandy Bridge Laptop I have because aging hardware really becomes far more usable with Linux. I also plan on Truenas Scale which is based off Debian for a NAS in the future and a few containers within as well and if I could get a Linux based tablet I probably would but I haven't seen them actually for sale anywhere yet so I remain on an Ipad for a tablet and an Android phone (And again: If there was a little/no compromise Linux phone I would use it but the specs and usability is just not there yet for em)
 

dangh

Posts: 581   +922
Great!
... now, can someone add 'uninstall' button to all those gaming stuff which simply shouldn't been integrated on the OS level as many, if not most, users use it for work only?
That would be so much better.